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Coldfeet

Where did the big ones go?

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I have been fishing crappies on Lake "X" for four years now. Size wise I would guess that it is about 200 acres with a lot of islands. There is quite an array of structure to try, rock piles, shallow bays, sand bars, etc. with a couple of holes that drop to 30' - 35'. The water level rose a few years back and there are quite a few tree tops sticking out of the water. It used to be 20' max for depth so it's gone up about 15' or so in the last 6 or 7 years. The first year I tried it, I didn't get out there until late January, but I caught my limit every time out while being the only one on the lake. The fish were not huge, mostly in the 9" to 10" class, but they were abundant. The second year I started fishing there as soon as I could get on the ice and I was catching some very nice 13" to 14" crappies and again, there were quite a few fish down there. A funny thing happened though, from January on, all I would catch were the 9" to 10" with a rare 11" or 12" fish all the way to late ice. Same story the last two years. Other people have picked up on the fishery, but I would say that they've been keeping their lips sealed because the most fish houses I've seen at one time is maybe 8 on what I would consider a fairly good sized lake (They all set up within 50 yards of me though). I am fishing off of an island with a steep break. I'm maybe 15 yards from shore in about 24' of H2O. Another 5 yards closer and I'd be in 15', and five yards out it bottoms out at about 30'. My question is, if I'm catching the big ones in Dec. but can't find them from Jan. till ice-out, where in the heck did they go? I've tried 15' and 30' without any luck. 15' seems to produce only small northerns and 30' is the same story as 24' but with fewer fish on the graph. The bite seems to start around 4:30 - 5:00 and shuts off at around 7:00 - 7:30. Do I need to change locations? Time of day? Presentation? I've tried the two latter ones without any luck, but maybe I'm not picking the right time and presentations to try. Any help would be appreciated.

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Sorry ,, at this moment i cant help you much . 1st off a 200 acre lake with lots of islands? think you could be off on the size? i cant realy go any farther with my knowledge till thats figured out.

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First of all, Matt thanks for the advise. The only thing is I'm already set up on the edge of a mud flat off of a rocky shoreline on the island. I know a spot with a rock pile in deeper water that is surrounded by mud, but I'm not sure if I can get to it. (snow is pretty deep right now)

rockhardinmn - As for the lake being only 200 acres, you're right, I was way off. Found the lake map on the MN DNR HSOforum and it is listed at 546 acres. I count a total of 14 islands on the map, but I think it's more like 11 or 12 now with the water level being way up. You may not consider that a lot, but I do. Most of the lakes I fish don't have any islands.

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WOW...12 islands on a lake of 500 Acres is a lot in anyone's book!

It is quite possible to fish a lake that size out even if it is only a few people fishing it, especially if people are only keeping the larger fish, after a few years of harvest it will be impacted in one way or another. I'd keep it pretty hush-hush if I were you though, a lake like that could get TOTALLY decimated if it leaked out.

Good luck!

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